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Pledge the Gift of Life

Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.



Format: 04/18/2014
Format: 04/18/2014


West Penn Allegheny Health System’s STAR Center Earns Prestigious Accreditation for Excellence in Medical Simulation

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

The Simulation Teaching and Academic Research (STAR) Center at West Penn Allegheny Health System has been accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH). The STAR Center is the first medical simulation center in Pittsburgh and one of only 10 across the globe to receive this honor.
The STAR Center was granted a three-year accreditation in Teaching/Education.

“Since its inception, STAR has provided unique enrichment experiences for practicing and aspiring physicians, nurses and first responders throughout our region,” said Dianne Dismukes, President and Chief Executive Officer, West Penn Allegheny Health System.“This accreditation is a testament to STAR’s success combining innovative curriculum and state-of-the-art technology to create hands-on scenarios that mimic the challenges of real clinical environments.”

The STAR Center was generously funded by a grant from The Highmark Foundation.

“The Highmark Foundation is proud to support West Penn Allegheny’s commitment in using simulation training to attract and retain top quality healthcare professionals to the Western Pennsylvania region,” said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. “The Foundation is extremely pleased that its grant helped the STAR Center achieve such a distinguished honor.”

Established in 2004, the Society for Simulation in Healthcare is dedicated to facilitating excellence in health care education, practice, and research through simulation modalities. SSH accreditation is granted following an application process which involves a day-long site visit to evaluate a program’s facilities, curriculum, staff and services. Programs seeking accreditation must demonstrate compliance with SSH’s core standards in the areas of mission/governance, organization/management, evaluation/improvement, integrity and expanding the field. They also must meet additional requirements in assessment, research and/or teaching/education specialty areas.

“The STAR Center team is extremely proud to be recognized by one of the preeminent simulation organizations in the world,” said Donald J. Wilfong, Jr., MD, Medical Director of STAR. “We plan to build upon this foundation of excellence as we further expand STAR’s facilities and incorporate simulation into the curriculum of our newly announced four-year medical school with Temple University.”

Housed at West Penn Hospital, the STAR Center is a virtual hospital that fosters clinical excellence by allowing health professionals to perfect skills through hands-on learning opportunities in realistic patient care settings including a neonatal intensive care unit, family birthing center, intensive care unit and an ambulance simulator.

In 2010, STAR launched a mobile unit equipped with SimMan 3G, a mannequin that may be programmed to mimic a wide array of symptoms from breathing and bleeding to crying and sweating. Mobile STAR is used to bring simulation education opportunities to outlying hospitals and also is available to community groups and schools to provide CPR classes, childbirth education courses and additional health instruction to under-served populations.



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